YES! AND NO!
KEVISED BY THE EDITOR,
D. P. KIDDER.
PUBLISHED BY LANE & TIPPETT,
FOR THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION OF THE METHODIST
EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 200 MULBERRY-ST.
J. Coliord, Printer.
YES ! AND NO !
It is of no use to puzzle young people
with hard names of half a dozen syllables,
£he meaning of which they cannot make
out ; it is better to use words which they
can all understand ; therefore the title of
this little book shall be Yes ! and No !
Yes and no are very little words, but
though small in size they are great in
importance ; for on the use and abuse of
them depends much of our hope and our
2 YES ! AND NO !
fear, our joy and our sorrow. These two
words are in constant use ; but as some
confusion might arise from speaking of
them both at once, let us be content with
one of them ; let us see what can be said
of Che word yes.
You may think it an odd subject to
speak upon, but never mind that ; for
many an odd thing is made useful, and
there is no reason, that I know of, why
we should not make a good use of the
Some say yes when they mean no, and
others say no when they mean yes, and
no doubt you may remember instances of
this kind with regard to yourself. When
I was a boy, and the question was asked
me if I liked school, I used to say yes ;
but though my tongue said yes, my heart
said no. Once, when on a visit, I was
asked by a gentleman if I would eat a
mince pie. Now being uncommonly fond
of mince pie, the prospect of having one
much pleased me, yet I answered, " No,
thank you, sir," foolishly expecting that
he would ask me again ; this, however,
he never did, and thus was I deservedly
punished for my insincerity. Now, in
these two instances, I acted, to say the
YES ! AND NO ! 3
least of it, a very silly part ; and my rea-
son for acknowledging it to you is, that
you may be persuaded to act more wisely.
A straightforward, open-hearted, and
sincere answer is better than all the
silly, shuffling, insincere replies in the
But, perhaps, if I w r ere to tell you
twenty other instances wherein I acted a
silly part with regard to the word yes,
you might not apply one of them to your-
self. Nay, for aught I know to the con-
trary, you might conclude that because
you had not committed the very same
faults, you were free from the errors which
I had pointed out to you. I will, there-
fore, soon leave off talking about myself,
that I may, for a few minutes, talk about
you, and especially about the manner in
which you ought to use the word yes.
It matters but little wdiether you are a
boy or a girl ; for boys and girls have
hearts in their bosoms made of the very
same materials, and liable to the same
There's not a pulse that throbs, that does not still
Obey at times some base, unbridled will ;
And not a beating bosom but requires
A heavenly hand to quench its lawless fires.
YES ! AND XO !
. He who has been a child knows pretty
well whal enters into a child's heart; and
therefore, you must not be surprised if I
should happen to know what is in yours.
You know, too, that he who stands on
the top of a mom a can see further
than he who Walks about in the valley
below. As I am older than yon are, and
have seen more than you have seen, so I
may be likened to one on the top of a
mountain, and may then describe to you
a few things of which you are at present
In every bosom there is a strong prin-
YES ! AND NO ! *>
ciple of selfishness, which continually
prompts us to follow out our own plea-
sures and desires, without earing much
whether or not they dishonor God, or
trespass on those around us ; and unless
this principle is restrained by divine
grace, we are continually dissatisfied,
running after glittering hubbies, which,
the moment we touch them, burst and
disappear. If I ask you whether you
feel this principle in your heart, I think
you will be compelled to reply yes. You
may love your parents, your relations,
and your teachers ; but do you not love
yourself better '? You know you do, and
therefore must answer yes. You obev
those who have the care of you, or who
are placed in authority over you, but
would not you, if you could, rather obey
your own heart ? If you speak truly, you
w r ill again say yes. Now, my object is to
point out to you, that whatever this selfish
principle may say, whatever your heart
may say, and whatever may be said by
the whole world, it is to your real intere
and happiness never to say yes to what
God forbids, and always to say yes to
what he commands.
Te are told to love our parents, o\
6 YES ! AND NO
neighbors, our friends, and our enemies,
and especially to love God.
Whene'er we think upon the skies,
Or read God's holy word,
This question in our hearts should rise,
" Say, lovest thou the Lord?"
And O more happy shalt thou be
Than language can express,
If, when the question's put to thee,
Thy heart shall answer yes !
Now, do not be angry if I question you
rather closely. Were you ever tempted
to deceive your parents by hiding your
faults from them ? by behaving better be-
fore them than when they were absent ?
by telling them that which was not true?
or by rebelling against their authority ?
If you have done any of these things, did
you thereby make yourself more happy ?
You will not answer yes. Did you ever
take what belonged to another, acting the
part of a thief? -If you have on any oc-
casion been so wicked, did the thing stolen
add to your happiness? You must not
answer yes. Did you ever utter bad lan-
guage, bear false witness against your
playmates, backbite and slander those
who had offended you ? If so, did you get
any addition to your peace ? You cannot
YES ! AND NO ! 7
answer yes. Did you ever give way to ha-
tred, anger, malice, and revenge, against
those whom you considered to be your
enemies 1 and did it add to your joy ?
You would be ashamed to answer yes.
Did you ever break the sabbath, mock at
holy things, or make game of those who
profess to be followers of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ? If these things
were ever committed, did they lighten
your heart, or render you more satisfied
with yourself? You dare not answer yes.
In all these instances you well know that
you have been your own enemy, and that
instead of gaining an advantage, you have
sunk in your own estimation.
Though sin in its course may a season succeed,
The heart that does evil must sorrow and bleed.
But can you recall to mind any one in-
stance during the whole course of your
life, wherein you have done good or re-
sisted evil, wherein you have humbly
obeyed God's holy will, lovingly assisted
your young friends, or forgiven your
enemies, without feeling a peace greater
than you before enjoyed 1 I do not think
that you are bold enough to answer yes.
The thing then appears plain, that by
i yes! and no!
always saying yes when God asks you to
obey him, and by never saying yes when
your heart requires you to disobey him,
vou will secure much iov and avoid much
More than one half the misery of the
world is brought about by our saying yes,
either with our tongues, our hearts, or
our actions, to evil temptations. And
more than one half of our mercies are
enjoyed by our being divinely enabled to
say y^s to all the merciful injunctions and
invitations of our heavenly Father.
What would you say to a silly com-
panion who in plain language should speak
thus to you : " Come along with me, and
let us get some of those bright red berries
growing on yonder bushes. It is true we
may tear our clothes, scratch our fingers
and faces with thorns, and tumble into the
bed of nettles at the bottom of the ditch ;
and, after all, most likely the berries will
make us very sick, for they are poison ;
yet never mind, come with me, and let us
do as I have said." Why you would tell
him at once that you would not go ; you
would not say yes to his invitation. Now
all who invite you to do wrong, ask you to
act the same foolish part, though they may
YES ! AND NO !
only speak of the shining berries, and say
not one word about the thorns, the nettles,
and the poison. Treat them, then, in the
same manner as you would treat your silly
companion: be not so silly as to say yes.
You may, perhaps, think me very anx-
ious about this matter, but I cannot help
being so ; therefore I say again, if even
those whom you believe to be the best
friends that you have in the world, re-
quire you to do what you believe to be
evil, they are asking you to be miserable :
turn away, therefore, from their invitation .
But if they require you to do that which
10 YES! AND NO!
you know to be good, they are asking you
to be happy, and with all your heart,°your
soul, and your strength, you may safely
And now, having said so much about
the word yes, let us for a few minutes
consider the word no.
There are many young people who
would hardly believe me if I were to tell
them that it is a hard matter to say no ;
and yet for all that, it is one of the most
difficult things in the world. Hundreds
and thousands who are now unhappy, who
are enduring the miseries of want, pain,
disgrace, and the stings of an accusing
conscience, might have possessed a bright
eye and a light heart— might have gone
rejoicing through the world, instead of
being bowed down with calamity, if in
their youth they had learned to say no.
It is a most important lesson, and well
will it repay the trouble of attaining it.
In peace through the pathways of life would you go,
Hold the reins of your passions, and learn to say no.
I grant you that in some cases it is an
easy thing to say no. If you require many
young people to do that which is dis-
agreeable, or to give up something which
YES ! AND NO ! 11
gives them pleasure ; if you ask them to
share their plum-cake with their compa-
nions, to bear patiently the rebuke of their
teachers, or to forgive a playmate who has
offended them, the word no will pop out
of their mouths as suddenly and as sharp
as a paper wad out of a pop-gun. In
these cases there is no difficulty ; but it
is not to such cases as these that I allude,
when I say that it is one of the hardest
things in the w r orld to say no. I will give
you a few examples.
Joe Turner was a lively and good-tem-
pered lad, but with all his liveliness and
good temper he had not learned to say no,
a neglect which he will have cause to
regret to his dying day. A gentleman's
servant, who lived in the neighborhood,
was in the habit of airing his masters
horses by galloping them a mile or two
along the common every morning. One
day when he was riding ahorse, and hold-
ing another by the halter, he met Joe,
and asked him if he would have a ride.
Joe was not accustomed to horses ; it
therefore was a very foolish thing for
him to get on the back of a mettlesome,
high-bred hunter ; but as he could not
sav no, he mounted the horse, and away
12 YES ! AND NO !
he went, starting off directly on a gallop,
not being able to keep his horse in.
Three minutes had not passed before Joe
was thrown ; his leg was broken in two
places, and well it was for him that his
neck was not broken too. Ever since
then Joe has been obliged to walk with a
stick, and he has no other prospect than
that of limping to his grave.
Harry Parker was a playmate of Joe
Turner's, but he could no more say no
than Turner could, and this circumstance
caused his ruin. On the whole, lie was a
decent lad, having many good points
about him, and every one said when he
was put apprentice to Mr. Roberts, the
first grocer of a neighboring town, that
he was on. the high road to make his
fortune. Harry soon got acquainted with
some wild and extravagant young- fellows,
who persuaded him to do as they did. If
Harry could have flatly said no when they
asked him to act wickedly, he would have
been safe, but this he could not do. He
robbed his master's till to enable him to
imitate his companions, and was sent to
prison, losing his liberty and his character
at the same time.
John Locket was the first scholar in
YES ! AND NO ! 1
the Sunday school, and so far as book
knowledge went, he knew more than
most of his companions ; but, though he
learned much that bade fair to be a bless-
ing to him, he never could learn to say no
in a season of temptation. This tailing
first made him a sabbath breaker, after-
ward a re and a bond, and, lastly,
occasioned his transportation to Botany
Bay; thus, for the want of fining to
say no, Joe Tu r lost the proper use
of his limbs, and Harry Parker and John
Locket lost their frien thei iaraet<
and their liberty.
it is indeed i trd thing to say no
when all around are tting you to say
yes! and yet until you can do this, you
cannot act with proper firmness, nor are
you in a fit state to be trusted by others.
If I had twenty so; md twenty daugh-
tors, though it would be a pleasant thing
to have them all well educated, one of the
very first lessons that I should wish them
to learn would be to say no.
Did you ever see a purple-faced, bloated
drunkard, staggering through the streets,
dirty, ragged, and miserable ; a disgrace
to himself, and the jest of the thought-
less lads who were assembled around to
14 YES ! AND NO !
laugh at him'? What was it, think you, that
made him so loathsome a being? It was
all brought about by his not being able
to say no. If he had resisted the tempt-
ation of the glass ; if, when enticed by
iiis intemperate comrades, he could re-
solutely have said no, he would never have
become a drunkard.
])id you ever see a thief dragged off
to a prison? or a murderer led to the
gallows'? If so, I ask you again, whether
you can guess what it was that occasioned
his ruin? If you cannot, I will tell you.
It was by his neglecting in the days of
his youth to learn to say no. Had he
stoutly and resolutely, looking to God
for grace, resisted evil, had he with a firm
voice and a determined heart said no to
the temptations of his youth, he had never
been led captive, the willing slave of sin, in
the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity.
Do you not think, then, if these things
are true, that it is worth- while to learn
to say no ? Most assuredly it is, and never
ought you to be satisfied till the lesson
has been thoroughly learned.
When a mouse, tempted by the smell
of a bit of cheese, is caught in a trap ;
when a fish seizes the worm fastened on a
YES ! AND NO ! 15
fish-hook ; when a bird, lured by a few
crumbs of bread, alights on a twig covered
over with bird-lime on purpose to catch
him ; when these creatures thus run into
trouble, and deprive themselves of their
lives or their liberty, they do it in igno-
rance. There is no one to tell the poor
bird that if he sets his foot on the twig
he will be caught ; to inform the poor fish
that a hook is beneath the worm that will
be fixed in his jaws ; or to make known
to the poor mouse that the moment he
puts his head into the trap to touch the
cheese, he will be strangled to death : but
with you it is different ; you are told be-
forehand that ever v evil deed will be sure
to be followed with its punishment ; there-
fore you have no excuse.
When lightning's flash along the sky
Be sure the thunder-clap is nigh :
Be certain too, each sinful deed
Will make the guilty bosom bleed.
On too many instances in my past life
can I look back with bitter regret wherein
I did not say no; firmly, resolutely, un-
alterably no ; for then should I have spared
myself many a useless sigh and unavailing
tear. If you wish well to all around you,
and would willingly keep trouble from
if) YES ! AND NO •
your own heart, again I say 5 do learn to
say no. . Do not hesitate, or consider, or
say no faintly, but if you feel that there
would be sin in your not saying no, say
it at once ; say it boldly, and say it un-
shrinkingly. Sometimes temptations ap-
pear in a more harmless form than at
others ; but a wolf in sheep's clothing
is a wolf still, and perhaps the more
dangerous on account of his dismiise ;
therefore, if your dearest friend, or your
worst enemy, asks you to do what you be-
lieve to be wrong, say no in a manner that
will convince him that you mean what you
say. Do this in your youth, your manhood,
and your age, and you will never repent it.
The lesson is hard, because our hearts are
sinful. Pray for the pardon of your sins
for Christ's sake: he died to save the
lost, and those wdio believe on him shall
be saved, and made strong by his strength.
Seek the influences of God the Holy
Spirit to cleanse and guide your heart.
He who has learned to say no in seasons
of temptation, cannot be ignorant ; he who
has not learned it, cannot be wise.
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION OF THE M. E. CHURCH.
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